Thursday, October 25, 2012

Creating Exercise

Knowing what to do for yourself 
does the body good

In part one I went over the common question of "What's the best exercise?"and in part two I discussed the hurdles that can lead to "bad" exercise.

First and foremost recall in the previous installments I said something being the "best" is very subjective and what might be good at one point in time won't necessarily be good at another time. And as much as I'm a proponent of low-rep weightlifting, even I won't say it's the best. (But it's pretty damn effective.)

A plan is only as good as you stay committed to it on a regular basis. It could be the world's greatest plan but has little value if it's not being done. This may sound familiar because this was on the list in the introductory post. Here's a refresher of that list:
  • It complements your schedule.
  • You stay consistent with it.
  • It produces results without causing pain or discomfort and addresses weaknesses and/or postural problems.
  • You enjoy it.
These items are the foundation to create YOUR best exercise. I won't discuss parameters or methodology in this post. You can find information for that all over the internet and the Exercise Index. Instead I will be going over each of the above points, starting with...

It Complements Your Schedule

Exercise has to be part of your daily routine. This largely depends on (1) how much time is available, (2) when you can exercise, and (3) how you feel.
Available Time: Check for blocks of free or unproductive time in your day. Time used to watch TV or the internet are perfect to replace with exercise. Also don't forget the weekends/days off for free time.

In a real busy schedule waking up earlier or using a lunch break can offer enough exercise time.

Time of the Day: Workouts tend to be early morning or in the evening/late night. Take into account the gym traffic as you choose when to go.

Mood: Generally how you feel is not a problem unless you're ill. And in the case of early morning or late night workouts, each may warrant extra attention to transition into your workout
  • If the morning is your only option to exercise it might not be an easy transition. Eat a quick breakfast, wash your face with hot water, and spend more time on your warm-up to better ease into the day and workout.
  • After a long day, exercise can be plagued by lack of energy and motivation. Set aside 10-15 minutes to unwind - listen to music, kick your feet up, and mentally go through your workout. Avoid laying down completely as you might run the risk of falling asleep. Hit your warm-up ASAP to change gears and not have the chance to get into a lazy state of mind.

You Stay Consistent with It

For most people consistency's not a significant problem. Rather it's they don't know what to do, are too strict in their planning, overthink it, or a combination of all three. To make this simple I say be fluid and lax in how you plan your exercise. Sometimes with other given priorities, there's very little time that can be allotted to exercise.

Once a week for 15-20 minutes might be all that you can afford. The important part is to do that one day every week for 15-20 minutes. It's the total effect of these small workouts which combine and create a large and powerful change.

Seeing Results Without Pain

I believe exercise is a positive experience and as such your choices and actions should reflect positive changes, not detrimental ones. Bad exercise can leave you miserable, injured, and worse than you when you began. Therefore in the quest to achieve your goals be mindful of how you treat your body and mind. By creating a negative experience it will cause you to associate exercise as being bad and a punishment for yourself and in the future you will feel less inclined to exercise. Don't starve your body, push it beyond its exhausted capacity, or implement any other ridiculous idea in the hopes to accelerate your progress. By all means avoid that.
If an area warrants extra attention then go ahead and spend a little more time on it. Stretching, mobility drills, and an extra 5 minutes every morning, night, or workout's end are all excellent ways to fix a problematic area. There's no need to overdo it.
Now assuming you've been diligent in your workouts and eating choices, 12-16 weeks after your start date you should see changes. Even after the initial 2 weeks in from when you start you can gauge your own mood, how your strength feels, and the fit of your clothes.

One of the great aspects of P90X is that it's a 90-day commitment which roughly equates to 13 weeks (13 weeks is 91 days). Pick a goal, stay dedicated to it for 3 months, and you're bound to succeed. If the effort and consistency are there results will follow.

Do You Like It?

Of all the things I discuss in this post understand this one to be the most important. If in the short-term you have to do something you don't like then so be it - it's only a brief passing period. However in the long run if you don't like doing "so and so" then drop it. Contrary to popular fitness there is no point in making yourself go through workouts you hate and make you feel miserable. That's stupid. Exercise comes in many forms. Find the one that you like and suits you. 
I do my hobbies, such as writing and weightlifting, because I like to do them. Life is full of choices and it's wise to spend your time doing activities you enjoy and that improve your quality of life. Exercise can do just that.

Exercise choices, reps, sets, time, intensity, and the many variables there are to pick from are endless. Fine tuning and adapting a plan to your own needs outweighs those factors.

Be smart, and more importantly, be happy with your exercise.

Other posts in this series,
Getting started,
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